Pasco County’s hotel market is thriving.
Five hotels are either under construction, closing in on a groundbreaking or will open within months.
A new Hilton Garden Inn is the most recent to complete permitting, with a construction start now in the offing.
The 125-room, six-story hotel is rising off of State Road 56, at Maple Silver Parkway.
Another 110-room Hilton Garden Inn at Northpointe Village, on State Road 54 at the Suncoast Parkway, is expected to open in three to four months.
Off State Road 56, an 80-room Holiday Inn Express is well under way, next to the construction site for the Florida Hospital Center Ice sports complex.
The ice complex is expected to open by Labor Day, and play a significant role in boosting Pasco’s sports tourism industry.
Developers of Cypress Creek Town Center, on the north side of State Road 56, are planning a 130-room Hyatt Place Wesley Chapel hotel.
And, Wiregrass Ranch is set to build a 92-room Fairfield Inn & Suites, also off State Road 56.
The hotel expansion comes as Pasco County is looking at another record-breaking year for tourism, with the county’s cash register jingling with bed tax dollars from hotel stays.
Pasco County’s Tourism Manager Ed Caum anticipates hitting $1 million in revenues from the bed tax, exclusively paid by hotel guests who live outside of Pasco.
To date, he said revenues are about $856,000, a 4.6 percent increase over projections.
In the last 18 months, hotel occupancy has been about 72 percent to 75 percent. And, the average daily hotel rate is $8 higher than last year.
“Now there is more demand, so there’ll be more supply,” Caum said.
Pasco currently has about 3,600 hotel rooms. More than 600 rooms will be added from the new hotels.
In 2013, an Urban Land Institute study predicted that Pasco would add about 75 rooms a year through 2020.
By that yard stick, Caum said, “We’re actually ahead of projections.”
While business travelers still fill up most of Pasco’s hotel rooms, Caum said more leisure travelers are coming into the mix.
That market is expected to grow as the county reaps benefits from tourist destinations such as Tampa Premium Outlets, more retail and restaurants at Cypress Creek Town Center, Florida Hospital Center Ice, SunWest Park and TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park.
About 6,000 people are employed by the hospitality industry in Pasco, including at hotels and restaurants. Supportive businesses indirectly account for more than 12,000 additional people being employed.
“That’s huge,” said Caum.
Published August 10, 2016